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Council Bluffs family working to get paralyzed son stem cell therapy

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:18 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Back in February then 16-year-old Owen Hansen was snowboarding near Abraham Lincoln High School. He was on his last jump of the day when he fell.

“He broke his neck, his C4, C5, and he is paralyzed from the shoulders down,” said Jolene Hansen, Owen’s mom.

A stranger passing by found Owen in the snow and stayed with him until first responders got to the scene.

“My daughter and I were on our way home from an appointment in February. We took our favorite way home and we noticed something that didn’t look right and we stopped obviously. That’s when we met Owen. A pretty intense day and with something like that your heart is just connected,” said Missy Murphy, who found Owen.

Owen’s family calls Missy Murphy their angel and she has been with Owen on his journey since that day. For the past six months, Owen has been in and out of a handful of Nebraska hospitals along with countless hours of therapy.

His mom Jolene says all of the health care workers have been wonderful working but he’s had some setbacks in recent weeks.

“He now has a G-tube in his stomach they just put one in. He has this bedsore that’s causing all sorts of problems. He might have to have a blood transfusion so it’s just one thing after another.”

Joelene says they are hopeful he will get back on track and healthy soon. They are now working to get down to Florida for stem cell therapy, something they say can’t be done here locally.

“They are straight from an umbilical cord so nobody goes through any pain for a donation, there’s no ethical controversy over it and they just put it either in through an IV or in Owen’s case they would but it in through an injection through his spine,” said Murphy.

His mom says the treatment has the potential to be a game-changer for Owen.

“Whether it helps him relieve the pain that’s in his neck and shoulders consistently or maybe get movement back in his biceps or his arms or something.”

The treatment comes with a hefty price tag. To help with that, the Council Bluffs community is stepping up with donations.

On Friday, Nutrition 712 held a fundraiser to help Owen get to Florida. The family hopes he will be healthy enough to go in the next three months.

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